Summer Holiday Programmes – Through the eyes of our Summer Coordinator
Summer Holiday Programmes 2021 – Through the eyes of our Summer Coordinator
This year I have had the privilege of being Unique Voice’s very first Summer Coordinator as their programmes went through an incredibly exciting and ambitious expansion. Due to the securing of additional funding, Unique Voice were able to upscale their Summer community programming from two to five programmes across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Over the course of the past two months, I have become part of a passionate team, from the permanent staff in the Unique Voice office to the summer programme facilitators. Each and every individual brought such dedication, creativity and sensitivity to their role and all have been an important part of my journey and growth.
Equally integral to my experience with Unique Voice have been the inspiring families, schools and communities I have come into contact with along the way. Being reasonably new to the city of Bristol, it has been incredibly insightful to be in a role that is so heavily community-based. As the main point of contact for the families and on-site teams, I felt very much connected to the project, it’s mission and the families that we were providing for. Witnessing the transformation of the children as the week progressed and hearing testimonials from parents and carers of the impact it had on the families as a whole when visiting the schools was one of the most rewarding elements of the job. I have seen anxious, reserved children coming out of their shells, discovering creative passions and outlets they didn’t know they had. I have felt the gratitude of parents/carers who have not had access to such provisions before, watching the development of their children throughout the week while also receiving some much needed support of their own.
My position as coordinator across all five programmes gave me multiple perspectives of the project, capturing these special moments between individual family members, children and facilitators while also never losing sight of the bigger picture and the true scale of its impact across multiple communities. I feel this was a very privileged position to be in and one I greatly enjoyed while also being challenged in and growing professionally and personally as a result.
With Unique Voice making the brave leap to providing over double the amount of programmes it has delivered in previous years, I feel this year has been a huge triumph for the organisation. With squeals of excitement on arrival and teary goodbyes from the children on their final days, a huge amount of families requesting to return in future weeks and teachers amazed at the difference in behaviour as the children they work with are given an alternative space to express themselves and play; the feedback from children, parents/carers and schools across the board has been overwhelmingly positive. We have been able to consistently deliver programmes of high impact across all sites, even in the face of the challenges that the pandemic has posed for us as a team and the families involved. This is a true testament to the strength, resilience and dedication of our team as a whole. One I am proud to have been a part of.